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Video Game trope common in Adventure Games and RPGs where no matter how openly unguarded a chest is, no matter how easily it looks like your Kleptomaniac Hero should just be able to walk up and take it, the moment you touch it, someone bursts into the room to stop you.

See also Schrodinger's Gun. Compare Teleporting Keycard Squad.


  • In Sam and Max Freelance Police episode 302: "The Tomb of Sammun-Mak", reel 3, despite Jurgen being on the other end of the train, or several trains away, despite being able to look around the rest of his room with impunity, if you try to touch his steamer trunk without turning him into a vampire first, he will immediately burst in and yell at you for it.
  • The guards in Daggerfall will appear out of nowhere even in the middle of the night if you steal something or otherwise do something wrong, accompanied by the Most Annoying Sound.
  • The shopkeeper in The Secret of Monkey Island will appear in his shop instantly if you try and steal something, even if he was on an errand.
    • Except for the scene where you break into his safe.
  • Largo LaGrande in Monkey Island 2: LeChuck's Revenge will appear out of nowhere if you try to take anything from his room.
  • In The Sims 3, teenagers can be arrested for breaking curfew. Or rather, they will be arrested for breaking curfew, because cops will automagically appear to arrest them at the stroke of midnight if they're off lot, even if they're inside. The modding community generally refers to these cops as the 'psychic curfew police' and has devised various patches that reduce or eliminate their psychic powers.
  • In Zork I, as soon as you enter the thief's lair, "You hear a scream of anguish as you violate the robber's hideaway. Using passages unknown to you, he rushes to its defense."
    • Old school text adventures in general were big on this -- the emphasis on Trial and Error Gameplay and importance of the verb "take" made it necessary for game designers to go the extra mile in those rare situations where kleptomania was not the answer. Another example would be Wishbringer, from the makers of Zork, which had a card and novelty shop where touching anything would summon the owner from an adjacent room.
  • In Pokémon Yellow, at the beginning of the game you are given a table with a Pokéball, as soon as you try to pick it up, your rival pushes past you and grabs the Pokéball for himself.
  • The guards in Oblivion will remember if you have evaded arrest before, even if you hoof it to an entirely different town. News Travels Fast, after all.
  • in Duke Nukem enemies would literally teleport out of thin air when the player walked over certain spots. This meant that judicious use of the jetpack could prevent a large portion of the level's enemies even appearing.
  • Happens all the time in first person shooters, sometimes they are even triggered by walking into unimportant rooms.
  • In one house in the original Breath of Fire, there was a chest that could not be opened no matter who was in your party, because you would always be caught in the attempt, arrested and thrown in a Cardboard Prison.
  • In Fallout: New Vegas, your infamy drops if you kill someone belonging to a certain faction, unless you are stealthed and use a silent weapon.
  • Justified in Mega Man Battle Network 2. Lan and Megaman are sent to retrieve the Chng.bat program from a foreign network. Upon arriving and taking the program, they trigger a security system which spawns a series of powerful viruses to prevent you escaping with it.
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